Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just a Closer Walk with Thee

I couldn't have asked for a better vacation.  The weather was perfect -- low humidity, cool evenings and mornings, warm, bright afternoons.  People ask me what my plans are, or where I'm going; I'm not ashamed to say, "I'm staying home and doing nothing."  Scott has created such a beautiful home for us -- inside and out.  And rarely does my vacation wind up being "nothing;" we always find some new project, and usually run out of time to do everything we'd like -- even if it is just to stay up past 8PM!

On one of my early morning walks with the dogs I experienced one of those "happy-to-be-alive" moments.  The air was clean and cool, the grass -- freshly mowed, was thick and damp and fragrant, and the sun was like life and healing on my face.  God's blessings saturated my soul and everything around me.  I began to pray as I walked.  Before I realized it, I was almost home.  It seemed like only minutes before I was leaving our house, legs aching, determined I was only going half the way today.  As I thanked God for "being my legs" and carrying me the full course, I remembered Isaiah 40:31 --

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

As surely as God had placed one foot in front of the other throughout our walk, as confidently and effortlessly as I took one step after the other, is the way in which He carries us through our good days and bad.  I never questioned whether the ground under my feet would be there; I never worried my legs would not support me; it's one of life's certainties.  As I walked I had this picture of my journey through life.  Of a relationship with Jesus so close, so assured, so trusting that I never consider being left unsupported, or with no sure place to put my feet.  I pictured taking each day, each step, each breath with Jesus, just as confidently and effortlessly as I took my steps through the wet grass.  I know Jesus pictures that too -- if only I am willing to keep my heart and mind staid on Him.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Heavenly Ally

2 Chronicles 16:1-9

King Asa of Judah, originally a God-fearing king, had gotten comfortable (I believe).  He was in his thirty-fifth year of reign, or so, and he had a problem with Baasha, King of Israel.  Rather than turn to God, Asa makes a pact with King Ben-hadad of Syria -- an enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend kind of thing.  Asa, with Ben-hadad's help defeats Baasha. 

The Bible doesn't tell us that Asa had begun some sort of personal struggle with God; nor does it say Asa had fallen to temptation or suffered some sort of setback.  One day Asa was King of Israel, seeking God's guidance for his reign and his people -- next day, he'd handled things exactly as we see them handled in the world today.  Conspiracies.  Backroom deals.  Back scratching amongst politicians or co-workers.  I think Asa got comfortable operating within the parameters of earthly kings.  The same way we get comfortable operating inside the myopia of reason, and "do-it-yourself-ism." 

Someone takes advantage of you?  Sure, you may not pay them back (that would be "un-Christian") but you certainly can't let them do it again -- "They'll think they can do it all the time!" 

"God helps those who help themselves!"  Right? 

"If you want something done you've gotta do it yourself!"

When my second marriage ended, I returned to my "Forever Friend," Jesus.  I gave it all to Him (and found too, that's not a one-time thing -- I surrender over and over.  I have to!).  Even as my pantry was emptying and my mortgage could not be paid, I trusted Jesus would provide.  Only because Family Courts (in PA? Delco? I'm not sure) forces single mothers to take fathers to support court as a way to avoid children on welfare and deadbeat parents, did I file for support.  I prayed and prayed for God's will to be done in earthly circumstances.  After the initial meeting with a "support counselor" appointed by the courts, all court dates regarding the issue, were my ex-husband's appeals.  The entire time I kept praying for Jesus' provision and plan.  The entire time, my ex-husband kept appealing.  The entire time, the monthly support figure kept going up!  At some point, he actually came to me and begged me to stop this!  I had to remind him that he was the one who was keeping this alive; he was actually doing it to himself!  I told him the only thing I could -- I was praying for him.  My ex-husband was relying on the courts, making his deal with an earthly "king;" I had committed myself to a Heavenly Advocate.

Since then, I too have gotten comfortable in this world from time to time.  I see an issue and labor furiously to "fix" it.  I plot and scheme, and twitch with anticipation, dying to get my hands on whatever it is so I can make it right.  I often need to remind myself: 

The best solution is prayer, the best partner is Jesus, and the best plan is His!